New regulations announced by the Indian government reward the renewable energy producers not only for the generating power but also for preventing emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
The new rules would allow the renewable energy power plants to increase their scope of revenue generation and thus reduce the payback period significantly. The renewable energy power plants can now either sell power to preferential tariff rates or sell the electricity generation and environmental benefits of the project separately.
The renewable energy power producers would earn renewable energy certificates for every megawatt hour of electricity generated. A central authority would be established which would be responsible for distribution of these certificates. Any entity which has the obligation to purchase power generated from renewable energy sources can buy renewable energy certificates from these power producers to meet their targets.
A Bloomberg UTVi news report explains the proposed policy.
Last year the Indian government made it mandatory for all the state electricity boards to increase purchase of renewable energy-based power by one percent every year. These new regulations would help the state electricity boards to meet their targets with almost no immediate pressures of expanding power evacuation infrastructure for the renewable energy power plants.
India stands at the verge of a renewable energy revolution. It has the fifth largest install wind energy capacity in the world which has more than doubled in the last five years. The recently announced National Solar Mission aims at increasing solar-based generation capacity to about 20,000 MW over the next decade. This mission, a part of India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change, would also include providing various financial and technological incentives to the power producers and also providing subsidies to domestic consumers to install rooftop solar panels which would eventually form a feed-in system to the regional grids.
Investments in renewable energy projects have not gathered sustainable pace yet owing to the high capital costs, long payback periods and lack of tariff parity which makes the sector unattractive to the investors. However, the incentives announced recently by the central and various state governments allow power producers to import equipments at lower rates, provide tax benefits and set preferential tariffs.
Renewable energy would play a crucial role in India’s energy basket in the long-term given the rapidly rising demand and the need to provide power to rural areas. With the target of reducing carbon intensity and increasing pressure to cap the growth of its carbon emissions India could find it difficult to rely on coal and gas as energy sources, especially due to unsustainable supply scenario. India would have develop renewable energy infrastructure not to sustain its economic growth but also to ensure energy security. Therefore, the government needs to put in concentrated efforts to provide financial and technological assistance to renewable energy power producers to attract more investments and ensure sustainable growth in the sector.
Hat tip: Hindustan Times
Image Credit: Amaresh S K (Creative Commons)
The views presented in the above article are author’s personal views and do not represent those of TERI/TERI University where the author is currently pursuing a Master’s degree.
Mridul Chadha currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.